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Introduction: Modern agricultural practices are becoming indispensably and heavily reliant on the use of pesticides or insecticides for crop yield enhancement. Both deliberate and inadvertent exposure might potentially elicit health complications with the application of Organophosphate (OP) pesticides like malathion. With respect to sperm and testicular tissues, this study design examines the effect of Alchornea cordifolia ethanolic root extract dose dependently on malathion subacute toxicity in albino rats.
Method: A nest of thirty male albino rats (Rattus norvegicus) were divided in six groups of five rats each. The control group (Group 1) was treated to 0.5ml Carboxyl-Methyl-Cellulose (CMC) buffer solution only. Groups II was exposed to 1/25 of LD50 25mg/kg body weight of malathion only, while group III received 250mg/kg Alchornea cordifolia alone. Subsequent groups, (IV, V and VI) were co administered 25mg/kg body weight of malathion with varied concentration of 250, 500, and 750mg/kg Alchornea cordifolia ethanolic root extract respectively. The administration was conducted as a single daily dose for 42 days by gavage. After euthanizing the rats, harvested testicular tissues were subjected to biochemical assay and histological study while the sperm cells were microscopically examined.
Results: After exposed to 25mg/kg body weight of malathion, the rat experienced nasal redness, ocular discharge and lethargy as physical signs of subacute toxicity. Malathion treatment alone significantly decrease (p<0.05) body weight change, absolute and relative weights of the testis when compared with the control and extract co treated groups. No statistical difference (p>0.05) in body weight change of Alchornea cordifolia alone administration was observed when compared with the control. Also, physical sign of nasal redness, lethargy and ocular discharge was seen in Alchornea cordifolia treatment alone (group II). In a dose dependent manner, cotreatment of malathion with Alchornea cordifolia ethanolic root extract tend to maintain body weight, absolute and relative weights of the testis to near normal. After 42days, malathion administration alone significantly increased (p<0.05) MDA level and nitric oxide (NO.) activity when compared with extract treated group and control which were significantly reduced (p<0.05). However, the activity of acetylcholinesterase (AChE) was unchanged.
For the reproductive indices using the sperm count, motility, morphology and sperm volume, co administration of malathion with Alchornea cordifolia indicated a significant change (p<0.05) in sperm motility, sperm count, sperm morphology and sperm volume when compared with malathion administration alone. Photomicrographs of the testis with respect to Alchornea cordifolia administration further corroborated the biochemical findings of this research. The damaged and atrophic seminiferous tubule in the testis with edema fills in intertubular space as observed with malathion treatment alone, was reduced upon co treatment with A. cordifolia at 500 and 750mg/kg body weight.
Conclusion: Aside the attenuating potential of Alchornea cordifolia in radical formation, Alchornea cordifolia dose dependently decline malathion induced toxicity in sperm and testicular tissue of Rattus norvegicus.
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